No matter what happens from here -- and to be sure, there's plenty more to come -- this World Series between the Astros and Dodgers has already raced up the list of the greatest Fall Classics. We'll see where it settles when the dust settles after Game 7 (Oh, come on, do you really think it's not going to go the distance?). But considering it's already featured two of the greatest non-elimination games ever played and an incredible 14 game-tying or lead-taking home runs, it seems reasonably safe to assume history will look favorably upon it.
With this brief break before Game 6 on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, let's look back at 10 moments that have shaped this Series. Now, this could very easily devolve into a blow-by-blow of Games 2 and 5. But that's not the intent here. The intent is to incorporate all five games and identify key plot points that have made this such a fascinating Fall Classic.
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10. Vin Scully's ceremonial first pitch, Game 2
Looking back, we should have seen it coming. We should have known, when Vin came out and went next-level and turned the ordinarily static and staid pregame pitch routine into his own personal improv act, that this would be no ordinary World Series.
Scully even did some inadvertent foreshadowing, going to the "bullpen" (Fernando Valenzuela) very early. Quite soon thereafter, bullpen maneuvers would begin to have an outsized impact on this Classic story.
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9. Dave Roberts pulls Rich Hill, post-fourth inning, Game 2
An absolutely defensible managerial decision that is still having a lingering effect on this Series. That's why it's listed here. You could argue in favor of keeping Hill in that ballgame by virtue of his single run allowed and seven strikeouts through four.
You could argue in favor of removing him because the Dodgers' bullpen, which at that point was still in the midst of what would be a 28-inning scoreless streak, had been so, so good, five right-handers were due up and Hill had walked three guys and would have been responsible for at least another run had a ball not taken a favorable bounce off Chris Taylor's cap in center field.
Anyway, even if you defend the merits of the move, you have to admit it contributed to what would happen in Game 5, by which point Los Angeles' 'pen (notably, Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen, all of whom did heavy lifting in Game 2) looked pretty gassed.
8. A.J. Hinch summons Brad Peacock with a 5-1 lead, sixth inning, Game 3
Remember Lyle Lanley, the guy who sold the monorail system to Springfield on "The Simpsons"? Even he was more trustworthy than some of the guys in the Astros' bullpen.
That's what made Peacock's near-perfection in Game 3 so vital. It didn't start out so great. Peacock came in with two on and one out. He got the first guy he faced, Yasiel Puig, to ground out, and that brought an unalarming run home to cut Houston's lead to 5-2. But then he uncorked a wild pitch that scored another, and suddenly you're thinking the train is going off the monorail tracks. Peacock, though, allowed just a single baserunner from that point forward, closing it out with the 3 2/3-inning outing. As we've seen in this Series, effective, multi-inning relief is something to be celebrated. If the Astros finish the job in Game 6 or 7, we'll look back at Peacock's Game 3 performance as a major milestone.
7. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa go back-to-back off Josh Fields, 10th inning, Game 2
Altuve and Correa became just the second teammate tandem to go back-to-back in extra innings in postseason history, joining the Mariners' Edgar Martinez and John Olerud from Game 1 of the 2000 American League Division Series. So that's really cool. But what was also cool is what these shots set off. Five extra-innings home runs! Never, in more than 200,000 games played in Major League history, had that many home runs been hit after the ninth.
6. Cody Bellinger hits an RBI double off Ken Giles, ninth inning, Game 4
It was a 1-1 ballgame when Bellinger stepped to the plate with two on and none out in the ninth. Bellinger, who famously didn't know who Jerry Seinfeld was until this year, had been mired in a "Series about nothing" before this game. Until he doubled to set up a run in the seventh, he had been in an 0-for-13, eight-strikeout skid. But he came up clutch late, and this liner to the gap in the opposite field gave the Dodgers the go-ahead at a time when they were desperately trying to even the Series at two wins apiece.
5. Justin Turner homers off Dallas Keuchel, sixth inning, Game 1
This feels like it happened a month ago, but, yes, it was big. We could spend all day debating which of these dudes has the better beard, but there was no denying who won this particular battle, and Turner was aided by the atmospheric conditions. It was a record-high 103-degree first pitch for Game 1 at Dodger Stadium, and the heat helped this ball carry and carry and carry until it just cleared the wall in left-center field, bringing home Turner and Taylor, who had drawn a walk, with two out. Dodger Stadium lost its mind -- and not for the last time.
Though it doesn't make this list, we've got to give a shout-out here to Corey Seager's homer off Justin Verlander in the sixth in Game 2. It was the same inning and same situation -- a Taylor walk with two out, a 1-2 pitch and a two-run homer to give L.A. a 3-1 lead. That's some serious Abraham Lincoln/John F. Kennedy stuff right there.
4. Yuli Gurriel's three-run homer off Clayton Kershaw, fifth inning, Game 5
There were moments in Game 5 that had a bigger impact on the outcome, if you go off the Win Probability Added (WPA) scale, including the three-run blasts off the bats of Altuve and Bellinger and Bellinger's RBI triple and George Springer's redemption solo shot after a defensive misstep minutes earlier. But to prevent the possibility of making this list entirely Game 5-centric (and stepping on the toes of my colleague Mike Petriello's fine rundown of Game 5's biggest plays), let's state, for the record, that Game 5 was just an ordinary game until Gurriel took Kershaw deep with the game-tying shot that resuscitated Houston. That blast was the building block upon which that bananas ballgame was built.
You might have seen the stat that the Dodgers entered the night 137-19 in games in which they scored at least four runs total and Kershaw pitched. Gurriel sent Game 5 toward the realm of exception, rather than rule.
3. Enrique Hernandez drives in John Forsythe with a single, 10th inning, Game 2
Game 2 became a late-inning home run derby won by the Astros. And yet the single-most electrifying moment was a single from the club that would go on to lose. There's something fitting about that in a Series in which seemingly no lead has been safe.
The setup was Forsythe drawing a walk off Giles with two out and the Dodgers trailing, 5-4. He then advanced on a wild pitch, and, when Hernandez scooted a single through the right-hand side (the latest any team had notched its first non-homer hit in a World Series game), Forsythe sprinted home and scored with a textbook slide and touch of the plate, avoiding the tag from Brian McCann, who had made a perfect catch of Josh Reddick's perfect throw.
This was just a great baseball play, and it had the highest WPA (.465) of any single play in this Series.
2. Alex Bregman drives in Derek Fisher with a single, 10th inning, Game 5
I'm going to submit the controversial hypothesis that Bregman might be good, in general, and at this October thing, in particular. In this postseason, he's victimized Chris Sale (twice), Kershaw and Jansen with his home runs, and then he came through with the game-winning knock in the five-hour, 17-minute fever dream that was Game 5 -- the game that just might go down as this Series' signature clash (emphasis on might, because we ain't finished yet).
It wasn't just about Bregman here; it was about Hinch's decision to go for the throat with pinch-runner Fisher, owner of some of the fleetest feet in the big leagues. Fisher got from second to third in 3.28 seconds, per Statcast™, and from third to home in 3.18 seconds.
Yes, it's been a World Series centered around the long ball, but, for me, two of the most heart-pulsing pivot points came on singles. Imagine that.
1. Marwin Gonzalez takes Jansen deep, ninth inning, Game 2
Bottom line: If this doesn't happen, do we even have a Series? Might be a different scene altogether if the Astros go home in a 2-0 hole. Gonzalez hadn't homered in this postseason. He had homered just four times since the start of August. And he was 6-for-42 in October. Jansen, meanwhile, hadn't allowed a run all October, hadn't blown save since July 23.
So yeah, this was simply stunning. And that's pretty much the word that best defines this World Series.
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.